Brothers Robert (R.T.) and Richard Salazar formed The Tears in Sacramento, California in 1964. Best known for the two-sided
killer Weatherman b/w Read All About It on Fantasy Records, Big Beat's excellent NUGGETS FROM THE GOLDEN STATES series also
unearthed two previously unreleased Tears' tracks on it's Scorpio Records Story volume.
60sgaragebands.com got the scoop on the band from R.T., and was pleased to learn that an upcoming Tears' CD retrospective will include even more unreleased songs. We'll keep everybody informed on the package as it gets closer to a release date.
An Interview With RT Salazar
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
RT Salazar (RS): Rich learned to play lead guitar and then I learned rythym guitar.
60s: Was The Tears your first band? If not, which band was?
RS: The Roustabouts was my first band. We were together about six months to a year.
60s: Was Richard also in The Roustabouts? Who were the members of that group?
RS: Yes, Richard and I were the nucleus of both groups. Jim was also in the Roustabouts. We didn'y have a bass player at that time.
60s: Where was The Tears formed, what year, and by whom?
RS: The Tears was formed at Travis Air Force Base in 1964 by Rich and me.
60s: Were you Military children?
RS: Richard and I and Jim were military dependants.
60s: How did you and Richard hook up with Jim and Eddie?
RS: We met Eddie at a teen club dance and he gladly joined the band when he realized we were bound for bigger and better things.
60s: Who else comprised the band?
RS: Jim Brackett was on drums and Eddie Guillerme was on bass. I played rythym guitar and Rich played lead guitar.
60s: Who named the band? Was there any significance to the name?
RS: Rick and I named the band. We were influenced by British Invasion
60s: Where did the band typically practice?
RS: We practiced on our garage and in our living room.
60s: What type of gigs did you typically land?
RS: Teen clubs, school gyms, fairgrounds,Veterans Halls, and places like that.
60s: What teen clubs did you play?
RS: In the Fairfield and Vacavilee area near Travis Air Force Base.
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced you?
RS: We were influenced by The British Invasion, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Young Rascals, '60s rock and roll artists, and Motown artists.
60s: Did The Tears have a manager?
RS: Yes - our dad in the beginning, then Icon Studios, and then Trident Management, a subsidiary of Fantsy Records.
60s: How popular locally did the band become?
RS: Extremely popular in the Sacramento, Contra Costa and the East Bay area.
60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
RS: The Grateful Dead, The Mojo Men, The Seeds and The Oxford Circle. Rick and I did vocals on their hit song, Foolish Woman.
60s: The Oxford Circle? How did that come about?
RS: We were recording at the same studio (Ikon), and The Oxford Circle needed some harmony vocals. Erik asked us if we woundn't mind doing the vocals. We of course said yes, and the rest is history.
60s: Had you recorded with them prior to Foolish Woman?
RS: No - we did not record with that group before then.
60s: What were some of the national acts that you opened for or toured with?
RS: The Greatful Dead, The Grass Roots, The Music Machine, The Seeds, Mojo Men, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and The Vegetables.
60s: What can you tell me about the 1966 State Fair Battle Of The Bands that The Tears won?
RS: We played against some very good groups in 100+ degree weather for several days. Then, on the last day, they announced the winners starting from last place. When they got to second place, we started walking away. We thought we didn't have a chance. We almost keeled over when they announced us in first place. We played originals, Beatles, rock and roll and soul songs.
60s: Did The Tears participate in any other Battles?
RS: No - just the Sacramento State Fair.
60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
RS: Northern and southern California and also some towns in Nevada, Reno and Las Vegas.
60s: The Tears recorded two singles. Where were they recorded?
RS: The songs were recorded at Fantasy Records in San Francisco. I remember hanging around the members of Creedence Clearwater, and with jazz artists Dave Bruebeck and Vince Geraldi, and Soul artists - one being Roger Collins. His first hit was She's Looking Good.
60s: The credits on the Scorpio Records Story CD lists Eirik Wangberg as arranging both Weatherman and Read All About It. Did you work with him often?
RS: Eriik only arranged the first single - we did not work with him after that. We would have liked to continue the relationship, but we had moved on to Fantasy Records in San Francisco.
60s: Apparently, the second 45 was recorded after the original line-up had split? Is this true?
RS: The Tears recorded Rat Race. My brother and I recorded the B-Side, People Through My Glasses.
60s: Why didn't Jim and Eddie contribute on People Through My Glasses? Was there any friction in the band at that time?
RS: Richard and I recorded both of these songs after Jim and Eddie had moved on to other musical and job career directions. Eddie went back to Portugal for personal family reasons, but we kept in touch with Jim over the next several years.
60s: Who was the band's primary songwriter?
RS: Rick and I were the writing team.
60s: Do any (other) '60's Tears recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings?
RS: Yes, Rick and I did four or five more songs before we left Fantasy Records, including No Time For Tears, Hard Headed Ricky, and Taxi Driver. Several Tears songs will be released in the future on my new label, Natsam Records & Videos.
60s: Did The Tears make any local TV appearances? Does any 8mm or 16mm film footage exist of the band?
RS: Yes, we did an event sponsored by KFRC. We played at the South Shore Mall in Alameda, California. We had the 8mm transferred to VHS.
60s: Why did the band break up in the '60's?
RS: Personal interests changed, so each member went his own way. Eddie went to Portugal and Jim got married and had a son. Richard and I recorded some more songs and then went on our separate ways. Obviously we stayed in touch and eventually played together in bands he was playing with in the '80s.
60s: What bands did you join or form after The Tears?
RS: Richard Salazar played with several bands in the '70-'80s including California Border Line, Raw Meat and The Thunderbirds. I went solo and also did a duo with his second wife Kathy under the name RT and Reed. They released one 45, Storm In Your Eyes and Coming Up Over The Hill. Both of these songs will be released on a country album on Natsam Records in 2003.
60s: What about today. How often, and where, do you perform?
RS: Richard Salazar is very active with his son, Arion Salazar - who is with the alternative rock band Third Eye Blind. This band has had many hits and gold and platinum albums to their credit. Arion has been a co-writer and producer on their latest albums. I am working on producing 13 albums of music that encompasses 35 years of original songs. The first album, titled Anyday, is on www.cdbaby.com as of June 25th. These are four songs recorded at Fantasy Records in Berkeley in the '70's.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Tears?
RS: The experience was a dream that came true, but only for a little while. We were too young to realize what we had. If we had stayed together for another year or two, we might have been played on radio today. It feels funny hearing groups that we played with on AM-FM stations.We will always have the memories and our music and remember the people and family that helped us along. Especially our dad, Robert J. Salazar. I still remember his words, "I have $300.00 and 30 days leave to take you guys to the battle of the bands. If you don't make it, well, at least you tried."
The rest is history...
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